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Q+A: Transcript of panel reponse to Louisa Wall and Colin Craig interview

Published: 5:20PM Sunday June 10, 2012 Source: ONE News

GREG Deborah, if I can start with you, what do make of Louisa Wall's argument?


Yeah, she's absolutely right. I mean, it's discriminatory. Same-sex couples can only have a civil union. They can't have marriage. We can have both. And contrary to what Colin Craig says, marriage is a civil matter. The churches don't determine who may enter or leave a marriage, the state does. It always has in modern times. So imagine if we had civil unions only for Maori and Pakeha. That would be outrageous and we'd quickly change it. I think her law will go through. In California when they challenged this under the constitution, Judge Walker ruled that under the pursuit of happiness, people had a right to same-sex marriage, and it went through. So I think that this will go through, yes.

GREG Kelvin, do you think that she does have the full support of caucus? Is everyone behind this?

KELVIN DAVIS - Former Labour MP

Well, I wasn't there in caucus, so I don't know. But, look, Colin Craig needs to realise that the war against gay and lesbian issues was fought last century and his side lost. You know, the vast majority of New Zealanders really don't care. I mean, I was more interested in the rugby last night than worrying about this issue. And the word written on a certificate - whether Prue and Louisa have "marriage" on a certificate and I have "marriage" on my marriage certificate, it doesn't demean my marriage in any way. It has absolutely no effect. And I just think that it's a matter equal rights and they're entitled to it.

BRYCE EDWARDS - Political Analyst

But the funny thing is Colin Craig probably agrees with you that he's lost this war, and that's the big issue. This is about Colin Craig pushing the Conservative Party, and he's seen the poll, and those 63% are in favour. It leaves 31% that are against gay marriage. And he did quite well there. I mean, I don't agree with his stance, but he put it very nicely and clearly and he's not backing down. And for 31% - he needs 5% to get over the threshold and he's doing quite well, I think.

GREG We're getting a fair bit of feedback coming through, I'm told, on the idea of a referendum. Is that a good idea?

DEBORAH Why? What's the point? I mean, it's non-binding. Does it make--? Maybe it makes people feel better about having their view, but what the point? I just don't see the point in it.

KELVIN The way I see it, the whole issue is they've lost the war on homosexuality, so now this is just rear-guard action trying to, you know, "Let's attack marriage," or, "Let's attack gay adoption." It's just a rear-guard action and, really, those people should just go and deal with their gay anxiety and just let the rest of the country get on with life.

DEBORAH I mean, they're entitled to their view, but this view was probably brought up about undermining marriage when people first started living together in de facto relationships.

GREG Are we not getting tied up in knots about semantics, though? Because we have civil unions. It's not a million miles off marriage, anyway. Are we worrying too much about the wording here?

DEBORAH No, but you want to call- When I got married... the last time...


GREG What did you call the ones before, Deborah? No, no, carry on.

DEBORAH "Partner" is a horrible word. I wanted to be able to call him my husband. I wanted to be able to say, "This is my husband." And I can see that with people in civil unions. They want to say, I presume, "This is my wife," or "This is my husband," or whatever. It's not just semantics. It's about being with someone who you love.

GREG I'm glad you said that, because talking to Ali Mau, actually, before she went on Close Up earlier this week, she said in the circle of friends she has, no one talks about their civil union- They talk about their wife or their husband.

DEBORAH Yeah, it's so clumsy.

GREG They talk about their marriage.

BRYCE That's why the civil unions bill was always a bit of a con, really, on Labour's part, and it's interesting to see how much Labour's moved on this, because in the last term, when they were in government, the opposed marriage equality, and they said civil unions, which is essentially a second-class citizenship,...


BRYCE the answer. And they said it's semantics as well. They said, "Oh no, it's the same thing. It doesn't matter." But Labour's now moved quite a lot here, but still they won't take it on as a party vote. They'll still give it a conscience vote, which again is a bit of a cop-out. So I think the challenge for Labour is to adopt a party position on this. And Louisa Wall says that Labour went to the last election with a policy in favour of gay equality or marriage equality, but it was pretty muddled, and I think it's time for them to actually front up and have a clear issue on this.

GREG Is marriage a religious or is it a civil institution? Which way does it need to be looked at?

KELVIN I think it's a civil institution, but we have the religious ties around it all. I got married in a church, and it's wonderful. But, you know, I just think it's a storm in a teacup, and, without being disrespectful to Louisa and her partner, I just really don't mind. It's not going to affect me in any way. Just go for it. They're free adults. Just go and do it.

GREG If this does go through and it does get passed and we are allow gay marriage, how much easier, or is it going to make any difference at all to the gay adoption aspect of things, or is that a whole other kettle of fish?

DEBORAH I think from what she was saying, it will make it easier, and I think that's a good thing. I mean, she's right. There are a lot of people who are a man and a woman who are parents who should not be anywhere near children. We know that in New Zealand for sure. And there are probably gay parents who shouldn't be parents either. Doesn't make any difference.

GREG We will have to leave it there. Thank you to all three of you.

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